Friday, January 13, 2012

Rom, With His Son Nog, Makes For A Near-Perfect Figure From Playmates!

The Good: Excellent coloring, Decent variety of accessories, Wonderful sculpt, Good balance.
The Bad: Accessory coloring, Nog is unarticulated
The Basics: A surprisingly cool figure, despite the coloring issues with the accessories, the Rom figure is close enough to perfect to enthusiastically recommend to Star Trek fans!

There are remarkably few characters from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that were made into action figures by Playmates Toys that I am not looking forward to seeing Art Asylum sculpts of. I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and I collected all of the figures when they originally came out and now, as I cull through the collection, there are few that I do not wish were better. One of the ones which is close enough to perfect to allow me to rate it with five stars is, improbably enough, Rom.

Rom, for those who do not instantly recognize the character name, appeared in all seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!) and he was the brother of the Ferengi bartender, Quark. The father of the Ferengi boy, Nog, Rom appears witless and dim from the outset, but slowly reveals himself to be an engineering prodigy whose idea to mine the entrance to the Wormhole near Deep Space Nine prevents the Dominion from overrunning StarFleet from the outset of the Dominion War! So, when it came time for Playmates to release their second line of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures, the overlooked Rom was highlighted in the line, with a Nog minifigure as an accessory!


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1995 Collection of action figures contained twelve figures and it focused on recasts of the primary command crew of space station Deep Space Nine, with a few recurring guest stars like Rom fleshing out the line, as well as the strangely absent from the first assortment Jake Sisko figure. In a line with several disappointing figures made of entirely recycled parts, like the Q figure, Rom stood out as a real value and was gobbled up by fans right away. Rom is a Ferengi waiter who was cast in his Ferengi suit. The quality of this Rom figure, the only Rom action figure, even with the lame Nog mini-fig, led to him being bought up fairly rapidly. The figure remains difficult to find on the secondary market even now, in no small part because Max Grodenchik - who played Rom - attended hundreds of Star Trek conventions and fans looking for something different to get him to autograph bought up these figures enthusiastically. In addition to action figure collectors, this toy was bought up by trading card enthusiasts because it features a SkyBox SpaceCap pog, which appealed to trading card collectors.

The Rom figure is the Ferengi waiter as he appeared in the early seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with his green and black Ferengi suit. The outfit is colored appropriately, which has Rom unadorned by any pins, rank insignia or anything that distinguishes the character from anything. This is a distinctive Ferengi figure, but the outfit does not bring any immediate recognition for the character or his place on the station.

Standing four and one-half inches tall, this is an exceptional likeness of Rom immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with both hands partially closed, so he may hold both of his accessories at any given time. Rom's legs have a slightly bowlegged stance, which captures well the way Rom slouched around the station, even when he was standing. Even so, the Rom figure stands up and looks like he is ready to be displayed, as opposed to an action pose. Fortunately, Rom is very solid and he balances well on or off his stand. The sculpting details are very light; while the outfit has ribbing and pressed lapels, the hands do not have knuckles. At least Rom does have molded fingernails.

Rom's face is molded in a cheery expression that makes the figure look somewhat like a joyful piranha. The detailing on the figure's ears and nose ridge are exceptional and they capture his likeness very well. Rom's head features the typical bald Ferengi shape with giant earlobes and sharp teeth jutting out from between his big lips. Rom, like most Ferengi, has a headdress on the back of his head which covers the back of his skull

The paint job is exceptional. The skin tones are tan-brown with exceptional shading around the nooks and crannies of the alien's face. The figure's lips are painted a rich purple which accents them quite well. As well, Rom's eyes are brown with white pupils which look all right. The green suit is immaculately painted, with the jacket looking like a strange green starfield which has surprisingly good depth to it.


Rom comes with only four accessories, including Nog and the base. Rom comes with Nog, an electronic lockpick device and a container of magnesite drops and the base. The Action base is a Ferengi Alliance symbol. The end near the curved side has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Rom's feet! The two inch long by one inch wide Ferengi symbol is more than enough to support Rom. When Rom stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance.

Nog is an accessory to Rom in the action figure and he is treated as one. Rom's Ferengi son is cast as a solid piece inaction figure standing just under three inches tall. The Ferengi boy is recognizably Ferengi with his big, alien head and giant ears, but otherwise, he is only recognizable by his association with Rom (and as a short Ferengi, who else could it be?). The paint job is terrible on Nog, with the eyes being little more than recessed black dots on the figure's face. His hands are molded open, so he cannot hold anything. Ironically, he stands quite solidly on his own.

The two other accessories Rom comes with are specific to the episode "Necessary Evil" (reviewed here!). In that episode, Rom helps Quark break into an abandoned store using magnesite drops and an electronic lockpick. The drops are essentially a 3/4" tall plastic bottle with contours that make it look like it could hold enough of the corrosive chemical to eat through almost the entire station! The bottle is very much out of proportion with the rest of the figure, but it fits neatly into Rom's left hand, even if only upside down.

The electronic lockpick is 1 3/8" long and looks like the device from the show, at least with the molded details. Like the bottle, it is cast in an unrealistic rust brown plastic which looks unlike what either of the props looked like on the show. Clearly Playmates went through some effort to sculpt the accessories realistically, but the coloring minimizes the quality of the props and clashes with the coloring of the figure. Even so, the lockpick looks like a fancy wand and it looks pretty good in either of Rom's hands.

Despite only having the three accessories, Playmates included a pog unique to the figure from SkyBox which attracted trading card collectors to this figure in addition to toy collectors. The SpaceCap has a headshot of Rom with a wormhole image behind him. The back has a checklist of all of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures that were intended to have pogs come with them. While this is a fairly unremarkable pog, the added incentive did generate interest with card collectors.


Rom, despite the problematically lame Nog figure, illustrates a pretty high level quality from Playmates, at a time when many of their Star Trek figures were being produced with lower standards, Rom came out looking incredibly good. The 1995 line, in addition to having some truly uninspired sculpts, also featured some terrible recycled figures which simply popped old heads on different bodies and did not have any sense of attachment to the show. Rom, one of the few completely original figures in this assortment, balances exceptionally well and it is virtually untippable on or off his base. Rom is endowed with twelve points of articulation: knees, groin socket, biceps, elbows, shoulders, neck, and waist. All of the joints, save the elbows and knees, are simple swivel joints. As a result, the neck turns left to right, but the head cannot nod. The head turns realistically, though, because the headdress limits the range of motion some. Also limited are the shoulders; the shoulders are not ball and socket joints and only rotate. Still, Playmates dealt with this limitation by having a swivel joint in the bicep, that allows everything below to turn and offers real decent posability!

Moreover, for use with actual play, Rom may bend or extend at the elbows, which offers a greater amount of movement potential making him one of the more realistic Star Trek action figures to play with (for those who actually play with these toys!). On his base, Rom is stable enough and he can be posed well for action. He looks good and remains standing on his base flatfooted or in outlandish poses.


Arguably because of the great sculpt and coloring of the actual figure, Playmates made an investment winner with Rom. The figure was not terribly common and each case had only one to two of the figure. As the only Rom figure, fans bought it right up and it has doubled in value (or more) in the secondary market. Even so, one suspects that when Art Asylum gets around to making a Rom this figure's value will waver.

On the plus side, Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of his right foot. In the attempt to make them appear limited, they had numbers stamped on them, though one has to seriously wonder how limited something should be considered when there are at least 19000 figures out there (my Rom is #018572!).


The Rom figure is a strong addition to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figure line and while another, better one might eventually be made, Playmates did this one right and most fans will be pleased enough to get this in their collection!

For other figures from this same series of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, please check out my reviews of:
The Tosk
Vedek Bareil


For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2012, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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